First of all, let’s put to rest the rumor that resumés are dead. Passé. Outdated. Sorry, but they’re not. While the demise of the resumé has been predicted for years, currently they are still a standard requirement for most companies. Yes, you can direct people to your website or LinkedIn profile, and they may check you out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and lots of other places online, but all of that is secondary information. The reality is that, once you get into the hiring process, most companies will expect you to produce a resumé.**
So, since you still need a resumé, let’s make it a great one! It’s important to have a modern and digitally-compatible resumé, especially in the creative industry. Take advantage of the opportunities technology provides to showcase your work, your skills, and your experience.
Leverage free software and tools.
There are plenty of online tools to help you compile and format a great-looking resumé. Templates are available in any document program, design software programs, on portfolio websites, and even places like Etsy. There are sites to create your own infographics, or you can build a separate resumé page on your personal website. There’s no shortage of choices, just find something you’re comfortable with that can create what you need.
Keep it simple.
Take advantage of digital abilities of the software you’re using, but avoid the temptation to overdesign your resumé. This document has one job–to provide information about your work history, education, experience, skills, background, and qualifications. Don’t let clever design get in the way of clear communication. You can use a nice color palette, tasteful fonts, and a few design elements, but let your portfolio showcase your creativity.
Keep it simple applies to written content as well. Even if you’re a writer by trade, save the clever words for your portfolio. It’s okay to have a little style, but never at the expense of communicating clearly and concisely what you do, what you’ve done, and what you can do for the company or client. Skip the industry jargon, abbreviations, and txtspk; the reader may not be as familiar with these terms, and an ATS may not translate the words.
Make it compatible with an ATS.
See what I did there? An ATS is an Applicant Tracking System, and nearly every company that hires people uses a tracking system, human resources software, or some type of database to organize their information. Your resumé MUST have text that can be read by these systems. Confirm that any software or template you are using keeps the text “live” and does not convert it to an image. Don’t build your resumé in Photoshop, don’t convert the text to a graphic or image, and don’t reverse light text out of a dark background.
An embedded link in your resumé brings attention to something you want to highlight and lets the reader easily get more information. Use them strategically and judiciously. Link to a few key items, like your portfolio, a website you designed, or an article you wrote. However, don’t rely on links. Readers may not click them, or they might print out the resumé to give to someone else, so be sure all of the important content is included in the document. Consider links interesting bonus material for the reader.
Emphasize skills and results.
Your resumé should communicate both what you’ve done, and what you can do. Highlight your skills, results, and achievements, either in text or graphics. A chart or infographic can be useful here, just keep it simple and clear.
Make it mobile.
Whether you use an online software, template, design programs, or create a web page, test your resumé on mobile devices. Send it to yourself and a couple of friends to test how it looks on various devices.
Have a printable version.
I know, it may seem completely old-fashioned, but you need to have a standard printable version of your resumé. It might be the online version saved as a PDF or a completely separate document. There are circumstances where you’ll need to email a document or bring a printed copy to an interview, so be sure that paper version looks just as fantastic as the digital one.
Have it proofread.
Don’t rely on spellcheck, have an actual human proofread your resumé for you. Spellcheck is great, but it doesn’t realize when you’ve used the wrong word, as long as it IS a word. The most common example of this we see is people listing their title as “Manger” instead of Manager. Both real words, two totally different meanings. There are also good online tools like Grammerly that can help catch these type of mistakes.
Keep it current.
Always have a current resumé readily available. Even if you haven’t changed jobs, at least once a year check all the links, update your skills and experience and make sure the design is fresh and current. You never know when an opportunity will come your way
**I realize that someone will comment to prove me wrong with a story about how they got their job with a YouTube video or their Instagram account. That’s awesome and rare. Like a unicorn. Don’t rely on being a unicorn.